Man dies in fiery crash involving 3 big rigs on I-5 near Gustine
A 66-year-old Downey man died in a fiery crash late Tuesday involving three big rigs on Interstate 5 near Gustine. The wreck stalled traffic through the night and into Wednesday morning.
Authorities had not released the Downey man’s name. Stanislaus County coroner officials on Wednesday morning were trying to contact his family and confirm his identity.
The crash was reported shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday on the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, just north of Highway 140, according to a news release from the California Highway Patrol.
CHP investigators learned that the Downey man was driving a 2012 Peterbilt big rig north on Interstate 5 in the right lane at an unknown speed. That stretch of the freeway has two lanes in each direction.
Lucas Bolanos, 45, of Oceanside was driving a 2010 International big rig with Leilani Bolanos, 12, of Oceanside as his passenger. They also were heading north on Interstate 5 but were stopped in the right lane ahead of Downey man and his big rig.
The Peterbilt big rig was unable to stop in time and rear-ended the Bolanos’ big rig, the CHP reported.
The impact caused a chain reaction and pushed Bolanos’ big rig into the rear of a stopped 2014 Freightliner big rig driven by Satvir Parmar, 28, of Seattle. His vehicle also had been in the right lane. Hardeep Singh, 30, also of Seattle, was Parmar’s passenger.
The Peterbilt big rig the Downey man was driving came to rest in the right lane and subsequently caught fire. After firefighters extinguished the fire, they found the driver in the burnt big rig, the CHP said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
No other injuries were reported. CHP investigators had not determined whether drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor in the crash.
About 7:30 a.m Wednesday, northbound traffic on Interstate 5 was backed up to Whitworth Road, several miles south of the crash site, according to the CHP’s online traffic incident information.
By 8:45 a.m., authorities had removed the crashed vehicles, but the right lane remained closed because Caltrans crews were working on road repairs and cleanup at the crash site.